Friday, April 29, 2011

Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith

I will admit it. I was up before dawn this morning to watch William and Kate join together in a royal wedding that attracted the attention of the world. Was it the fact that a prince fell in love with a commoner that we could all relate to the romance of the union? Or is a human desire to be captivated by anything remotely “royal”, a curiosity that will never be quenched, a lifestyle coveted from afar, the reason? Whatever the motive, the world anticipated the wedding for months, sat glued in front of the television during the ceremony, and now suffers post-wedding let down.

The fantasy of being a princess is one every girl is born with. Walt Disney thrives on such hunger and continually feeds the addiction with princess movies, dolls, and games. Unlike the fantasy of Jasmine and Cinderella, however, the wedding of William and Kate reminds us that royalty still exists even if not in our country. Yet, it seems that even in a society where Kings and Queens, Prince and Princesses have no place, there is that romantic notion that if you could just be a Princess, everything would be right in your world.

Don’t expect the fascination with royalty to diminish. Thousands of years post King David’s rule, writers are still penning accounts of his life, and readers are still captivated by one of the most famous rulers to date. Author Jill Eileen Smith has written The Wives of King David series that accurately depicts what the demands and pleasures of being his wife entailed. I have enjoyed the series, but clearly, the third book in the installment is my favorite.

The story of Bathsheba’s encounter with King David needs no added frills or lace. It stands alone as one of the most passionate, emotionally charged events related to King David during his lifetime. However, when Smith joins pen with history, the reader understands the motives behind the events following King David’s meeting with Bathsheba. The motive in murdering Uriah is clear-it was not ordered in hate or guilt, but in protection for Bathsheba. After all, the law required blood as atonement for the adulterous affair, and David wasn’t going to ruin his kingdom for it, and he certainly wasn’t going to let Bathsheba take the hit. Not to mention he tried to cover the sin by giving Uriah a leave from battle, but Uriah was just too devoted to the laws regarding interaction with woman during war to fall for it.

Believing that a removal of Uriah from the picture would make things right, King David became her kinsman redeemer, and welcomed Bathsheba into his kingdom. The political ramifications from such a move would remain within the royal family until King David appointed Solomon his successor. Along the way, there is atonement for the sin of adultery, bitterness and jealousy to contend with, and a battle to win against his beloved son. There is enough romance, drama, and action to appease even the cynical of readers.

As a long time fan of King David, and after reading many accounts (both fictional and academic), I enjoyed the flowing prose of Bathsheba more than any other to date. I am a girl that thrives on historical romance and feel it’s important for the author to take artistic freedom within the realm of truth. Smith has met my requirements for a great piece of Biblical fiction ten times over. There will never a bad time to grab Smith’s novel Bathsheba to read. However, after seeing the last remnants of the royal wedding, I think this is a perfect time!

Paperback: 346 pages
Publisher: Revell (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0800733223
ISBN-13: 978-0800733223
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches